Joint Venture & Partnerships

Avantium Moving Forward on Bio-based Plastics Plant

Dutch biotechnology company Avantium NV has unveiled a series of plans to commercialize its YXY technology to produce 100 percent renewable and fully recyclable polyethylene furanoate (PEF) polymers.

During a “technology and markets day” event June, 6 the Amsterdam-based company said it had revised its scale-up policy after taking full ownership of the Synvina bioplastics business from joint venture partner BASF SE earlier this year.

Synvina was formed in 2016 to commercialize the YXY technology developed by Avantium to produce PEF-building block FDCA. But BASF terminated its partnership earlier this year, citing disagreements over implementing the terms of the agreement.

As part of its new plan, Avantium said it intended to build a cash-flow positive flagship plant with a planned annual capacity of 5 kilotonnes per annum (ktpa) of FDCA and PEF.

The plant will produce products for high-value markets and performance applications such as high-barrier films and specialty bottles.

Avantium said it would maintain control of flagship and licensing business of YXY, while building a network of committed partners throughout the value chain.

Engineering company Worley, formerly known as Jacobs Engineering, has already started the design of the plant, slated to start production in 2023.

The final site for the plant will be named later this year, but is expected to be in Northwestern Europe.

Avantium expects to make an investment decision for the construction of the plant by the end of 2020.

Additionally, Avantium said the Synvina business unit has been renamed Avantium Renewable Polymers and operates under the Avantium brand.

The YXY plant-to-plastics–process catalytically converts plant-based sugars into a wide range of chemicals and plastics, such as PEF. Avantium demonstrated the YXY Technology at its pilot plant in Geleen, the Netherlands.

“We strongly believe in our YXY technology and the unique properties of PEF and are steadfastly moving towards commercialization,” CEO Tom van Aken said.

The revised scale-up and market launch strategy, Van Aken said, “meets both market and capital requirements.”

“Building our flagship plant with an annual capacity of 5 kilotonnes will allow our market entry in high-value applications such as high-barrier films and specialty bottles. PEF is ideally suited to compete on performance and command the best price in these applications,” he added.

In the future, with increased scale, Avantium expects PEF to compete in high-volume markets, including bottles for carbonated soft drinks and other beverages.

In its launch strategy, Avantium will particularly focus on value chain partnerships.

“We partner with feedstock providers, future licensees, convertors and consumer brands,” Van Aken said.


  • BASF and Avantium are great companies and their contribution to chemistry is remarkable. BASF is almost a legend. However, we should differentiate between the company and the people who run it. It’s not  the companies that make mistakes, it’s the people.
  • Avantium and Synvina woke up from a hangover after BASF left. BASF played the role of a runaway bride, but why did they leave the ship?  The  wedding was announced in March 2016 (read more), Martin Brudermüller became CEO in May 2018, the intention to divorce was announced in October 2018 (read more) and confirmed in December 2018 (read more). Do you think it was pushed by their CEO?  Can these type of decisions only be taken with approval from the CEO?
  • Do you think Avantium is looking for a new partner for Synvina? Do you think they’re looking for an Asian partner and maybe a Japanese company?
  • Did Avantium learn from their communications mistake ? Will BASF enter into an existential crisis?
  • There are many questions and uncertainties at this point in time but there’s one thing you can be sure of … you will like what following companies have done to innovate chemistry …



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Avantium moving forward on bio-based plastics plant